Your French Guide to the Perfect Fall Charcuterie Board
I am a strong believer in cheese. You can add cheese to just about any dish and it really makes it that much better. So, a dish of just cheese? Heaven. I first found my love for cheese plates when my aunt introduced me to the simple meal of crackers, turkey, and provolone. Oh how far my love has grown! Charcuterie boards are often thought of as more of a spring or summer appetizer but I am here to tell you that cheese plates are always in season. Charcuterie is so easy to create, it is a crowd favorite, and it looks beautiful on a table. This season try creating your own autumn charcuterie board! Here is the basic need-to-know information for a perfect cheeseboard.
Some important tips to keep in mind when you are making a charcuterie board. If you are planning on making a cheese plate for an appetizer, plan to include about 3 ounces of cheese for every person. You can never go wrong with extra bread and crackers, so if you think you have enough, grab some more. You can always save the crackers for another time! I like to label my cheese and accompaniments so that people know exactly what they are trying. Lastly, the charcuterie board should be served at room temperature. Set up the board 30 minutes to an hour before serving. Now let’s get into the good parts of the cheese plate!
(Hint: read all the way to the end for a fun surprise!)
Our favorite cheese boards
TYPE OF CHEESES FOR YOUR CHARCUTERIE BOARD
Oh, the options. This is truly the hardest part of making a cheese board because I can never narrow them down. There are so many types of milk, types of processing, flavors, additional ingredients, and more. But, you want to have a good mix of cheese for your charcuterie to make sure that everyone is happy. To do that, aim to have one of each of the main types of cheeses.
The term “aged” can be confusing because all cheese has to be “aged” to some degree. To be considered aged, the cheese has to be cured for longer than 6 months. These cheeses are usually quite strong-flavored, sharp, nutty, and hard. My favorite aged cheeses are gouda and parmesan! You can also try aged variations of cheddar, gruyere, provolone.
You either love or hate blue cheese, there is no in-between. People who like blue cheese love the very salty, pungent, and sharp flavors. Personally, it is a little too strong for my taste but I like to include it in my cheese plates because my family loves it! The name of this cheese comes from the visible blue mold, which is due to the added cultures of Penicillium. Yes, it is the same mold that penicillin is made from! Some great examples of blue cheese are Maytag, Roquefort, gorgonzola, stilton, or danish blue.
Hard cheeses are usually grated and added to pasta dishes or meat. They are also super yummy on a cheese board! To make it easier for your guests to grab a piece of cheese, you can cut it easily beforehand and place it in a pile or in a design on your board. Hard cheeses are awesome if you like a cheese that is super flavorful and pungent! Try out Manchego, Mimolette, and asiago.
To be honest, soft cheeses have my heart. I love the creamy texture with a yummy piece of french bread. Soft cheeses are mild and buttery, and sometimes tangy. I especially like the ones that are extra salty! Goat cheese, brie, fresh mozzarella, or ricotta. Try your brie with fig jam or cranberries on top to give it that seasonal taste.
Photo Cred: thatcheeseplate
The second best part of the cheese plate! I love the combination of cheese and meat, but if you are a vegetarian do not worry! Just skip the meat part and enjoy your cheese plate without it. That being said, read on to bring your amazing cheese plate to the next level. The meat is another great way to incorporate autumnal flavors into your board.
Most of the meat that you put on your cheese plate will most likely be a type of preserved meat. This gives it extra flavor and you do not have to worry about your meat spoiling while you are entertaining. Salami, bacon, ham, pâté, Proscuitto, and soppressata are all great options. I recommend meats with maple, herbs, and warming spices. Take it from me, candied bacon is a MUST for the ideal fall-themed cheeseboard.
Photo Cred: thatcheeseplate
THE BREAD & CRACKERS
It’s easy to overlook the bread or crackers part of your cheese board, but this step is crucial. So, put away the saltines because we are getting down to business. For your bread, make sure that the slices are small enough for easy chewing and are fresh. A simple classic french baguette will elevate your cheeseboard. Next up are the crackers. I would recommend a variety of crackers including herbed, fig, salty, and just simple plain ones. I guarantee this is what you will run out of first, so make sure you stock up.
Again, easy to overlook but a critical mistake if you omit the accompaniments! This is where your fall flavors will really have their time to shine. Fruit, nuts, pickles, and condiments are all welcome on our cheese plate!
Pick any type of in-season produce and add it to your board. Apples, cranberries, dates, figs, grapes, pears, pomegranate, pumpkin, sweet potato, and squash are at their peak this time of year. You can add them whole, sliced, or as a jam or dip! You can also decorate your cheese board with decorative gourds, mini pumpkins, or dried corn husks. Other fall-themed condiments could be things such as mustards, honey, vinegar reductions, and maple syrup.
OLIVES, NUTS, AND SEEDS
Olives are a great way to balance out your board. My favorite is a mix of Kalamata and Castelvetrano. Olives can be very salty and briny so be sure to include some varieties that are bright or sweet as well. As for nuts and seeds, take your pick! There are so many different types that it is hard to go wrong with whatever your favorite is. Candied nuts are another way to include maple syrup or brown sugar on your board! I love salted peanuts and roasted pumpkin seeds!
The best part about cheese plates is that you truly can not go wrong. Go with the flow and have fun with it! You can even make fall charcuterie boards out of your Halloween candy!
Photo Cred: rockymtnmomma.com
Want the chance to win your very own FREE OuiPlease box? We are giving away ONE La Parisienne box to the person who makes their own Autumn Charcuterie box and posts it! All you have to do is post your board to your Instagram, use the hashtags #OuiCheese and #OuiPlease, and tag us. We will pick our favorite and announce the winner on November 8th!
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